RIYADH: At the International Media Center in Riyadh during the week of the G20 Leaders Summit and before the extraordinary summit that will be held on the 21 and 22 of November, Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri, head of the Women’s Empowerment Team, led a media briefing where she shared with Arab News what her ideal society would look like.
“An ideal society is one that enables women who want to progress in their careers to reach leadership positions, and also provides all women with equal opportunities and equal access to services, even if they are not working” she said.
Al-Tuwaijri mentioned how accommodating women in the workplace was an issue that was discussed and raised during the Saudi presidency of the G20, and that it was directly related to unpaid care work.
She said that the concept that women are the primary caregivers in their families was unhelpful, as “during the pandemic women found themselves doing almost all of the care work and sometimes schoolwork for their children, and yet still having to pursue their careers.
“It’s an issue we’ve been addressing even before the pandemic. And that’s why, for example, on a national level, we have initiatives that support women in that respect … supporting women with childcare subsidies, like the Qurra initiative,” She said. “Allowing women to have access to these services will lead to more participation of women and understanding that this is a necessity for women.”
During a roundtable discussion about “Women’s empowerment as a key enabler for economic recovery,” Chiara Corazza, managing director of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society, said that women need to be able to take on the discussion about climate change, and how to drive finance. “We want to construct this world we are not there to empower women it’s the world that needs us this is the paradigm,” she said.
“The world needs us (women) in climate change, in business, in AI, and health … in all the main issues of daily life.”
She said that this was her message and she insisted on involving women in science “because otherwise, if we don’t have those with the right competence, the right capacities, we won’t be able to be heard.”
Regarding fixing the system, the G20 Women20 Sherpa Salma Al-Rashid mentioned that women already have the skills to fix the system. “It’s for the betterment of everyone in the whole community when women are equal participants,” she said.
Speaking of the priorities that were put forward by the Saudi presidency at the beginning of this year, Al-Tuwaijri mentioned that they were looking at realizing the full potential of the world’s population.
“We had a set of priorities that started with the G20 Brisbane Goal (in 2014). Then closing the gap in labor participation. All of that was a plan, a roadmap for us to guarantee that when we talk about realizing opportunities for all.”
She said that when the pandemic happened during the presidency of Saudi Arabia, it forced them to take certain detours and cling to the previous achievements “just to make sure that we don’t lose them, amidst this pandemic. And that’s why we were very grateful that the G20 Brisbane Goal made major progress so that we know how the pandemic will affect the inclusion of women.”